Clippers have heated exchange over defensive strategy

Clippers have heated exchange over defensive strategy
Clippers big men Blake Griffin (32) and DeAndre Jordan (6) can often be seen talking about defensive strategy during a game. (Lynne Sladky / Associated Press)

There was a moment late in the second quarter of the Clippers' game at Utah on Saturday night when Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Chris Paul got into a heated exchange with one another over a defensive strategy.

The Clippers' tri-captains started the pointed conversation on the court and continued it during a timeout while they were on the bench, forcing their teammates to play peacemakers.


In the end, Griffin, Jordan and Paul all viewed it as a healthy talk they needed to have in an attempt to find common ground.

The bickering started between Jordan and Griffin after Jazz center Enes Kanter scored on a reverse layup off a pass from power forward Derrick Favors, the two players the Clippers' big men were assigned to defend.

"It was my fault," Jordan said after the game. "Me and Blake was in a pick-and-roll and I stayed too long. Kanter got a layup. So he told me to get out earlier. We talked about it. He told me what he thought, I told him what I thought and we squashed it and that was it.

"I feel like we need to talk to each other about it, to communicate about it. I see it some way, he sees it another way. We've got to come to a meeting and figure it out. At the end of the day, we're trying to win."

When the Clippers were on their bench during a timeout after the play, Griffin and Jordan kept talking to each other.

Jordan stood up near Paul, who was sitting in a chair.

Griffin sat two chairs away from Paul, who was gesturing with his hands toward Griffin, who was clearly frustrated now during the argument with Paul and Jordan.

"I think you have to know when to say something and when not to," Griffin said. "Sometimes it's appropriate, sometimes you just let it slide.

"Yeah, you have to be able to carry it over. You can't go off to the side and talk to teammates about it. You just got to squash it and be a man about it. I think that's what we did."

Meanwhile, Clippers Coach Doc Rivers and his staff were on the court discussing the next play for his team when he noticed his stars in heated talks.

J.J. Redick sat in between Griffin and Paul to try to calm things down before they went back onto the court.

When they returned to the court, Matt Barnes stood in front of Paul, who was still animated while talking to Barnes.

Paul said the most important thing was for them to have a discussion about their disagreement with one another and then move on.

"Yeah, you've got to do that, because you're not going to always agree out there on the court," Paul said. "But at the same time, you've got to be able to get past that stuff. As long as everybody has got the same common goal — winning — that's healthy."